Mercy Bible Study: Session 5 Reflection

Session five was another long chapter that gave us a lot to think about, didn’t it? And I have to confess, I took my own advice and didn’t finish reading through all the scripture readings. Most of them were related and I was able to get the gist of what Father Pacwa was trying to get across to his readers. Here are my thoughts.

Mercy Bible Study: Session 5 Reflection

Image by ToniaD (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

I decided to focus on question two from the discussion questions at the back of the chapter. The question is “Think of the people who were angry at Jesus for having driven out a demon and causing a herd of pigs to be killed. have you ever found yourself feeling like someone didn’t deserve God’s mercy? What about a murderer who repents at the last minute” (pg 107)? This discussion question is the type that goes right for the heart!

The first example of Jesus driving out a demon comes from Matthew 17:14-18 when Jesus heals the boy with epileptic seizures. The second examples comes from Mark 5:1-20 when Jesus casts out the demon named “Legion” and into the pigs. In both cases, the reactions are different than one would expect. With the boy, Jesus is criticized, and with the pigs, the people are frightened. In both cases, they don’t think the persons Jesus healed were worthy.

And the end question really hits home, sadly. I have felt at times that someone didn’t deserve God’s mercy but it isn’t the “murderer who repents at the last minute.” That person is “out there” and it isn’t hard to imagine God having mercy on him/her. It is the person that has hurt me personally that I sometimes have difficulty wishing for God’s mercy on him/her. How about you?

During much of my school years I was bullied. I have cerebral palsy that affected the way I walked, I was quiet and shy, and it was hard for me to fit in with other kids. During my high school years, there were times when I was picked on (especially by one person in particular) and I can guarantee you that I did not wish mercy for that person (from God or anyone else!). I have since forgiven everyone who has bullied me and have moved on; however, in the past, I probably would have criticized Jesus myself if He had mercy on that person!

Even as an adult, when I am wronged – be it real or imagined – I struggle with not having negative, almost revengeful thoughts. Is it pride? Probably. I know in my heart we are to love everyone even our “enemies.” But, as humans, it can be difficult to look past the hurt and see that person as God sees that person. And, therein lies the challenge, right?! Or, am I the only one who struggles with this?

Jesus has given us the commandment and the example to love others and to have mercy on them, as He does. Just because the task is difficult doesn’t mean we are off the hook. He says, “the measure that we measure with will be measured back to us” (see Luke 6:38) and that can be a sobering thought if we (I am) are not measuring with mercy.

Like I wrote, there is a lot to think about in this chapter! What about you? What struck you or challenged you in this session? Do share in the comments.

*********

Tweetable: Mercy Bible Study: Session 5 Reflection